ANKARA, Turkey - The High Criminal Court in the Turkish capital Ankara has handed down life sentences to thirty-three people convicted over the failed coup of 15 July 2016.
It was the second major sentencing of alleged coup conspirators in a matter of weeks. On 30 May, 56 former Turkish soldiers received aggravated life sentences from the same court.
Turkey blames Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is living in self-exile in the U.S. where he has resided for the past 17 years, as being the mastermind behind the coup. The government refers to his movement as the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation or FETO.
On Wednesday the 33 defendants, all alleged to have ties with FETO, and their attorneys packed the Ankara court.
Eight of them were given aggravated life sentences, while the remaining 25 were handed standard life sentences. All were convicted over their role at a military school during the 2016 coup attempt.
Former Brig. Gen. Ahmet Bican Kirker was sentenced to aggravated life in prison plus sixteen years for violating the constitution and injuring a Turkish citizen during the coup attempt at the Etimesgut armored forces school in Ankara.
Turkey holds FETO responsible for what it says is a long-running campaign to overthrow the government by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
(Photo credit: Anadolu Agency).